Comcast’s smart home ambitions have been patently clear, and the cable company’s purchase of Stringify last year was evidence of that. But now we have a clearer idea of its vision, with the first relaunch of Stringify under Comcast’s stewardship.
Stringify is a smart home routines app that hooks in all your devices and starts helping them work together. It’s a bit like the better-known IFTTT, and it’s very good – as we outlined in our Stringify guide. And it’s just been re-released with a new look design and a bunch of Comcast-specific features that shows how it sees the smart home market playing out.
Like other global cable/satellite companies, Comcast’s X1 box is the centerpiece of its watching, recording and streaming offering – but Stringify is now equipped to blend your smart home devices with your entertainment set-up. It’s integrated Stringify with the X1 box, allowing you to add your TV to routines.
On the Stringify blog, the company outlined some use cases, which include notifying you on your TV if someone is at your door, or having the TV channel change as part of a “family movie night routine” along with dimming lights and setting your house temperature.
What’s more, the company is also allowing control over the Wi-Fi too:
“Finally, users can automatically pause and un-pause WiFi, so kids’ – and parents’ – devices can be paused at dinnertime, connected games can get paused during homework time, and laptops can be paused at bedtime,” the blog reads.
And getting your TV and Stringify routines working together isn’t the limit of the new features. Comcast has overhauled its Wear OS smartwatch app to offer more smart home control automation from your wrist, utilising another screen that people already own.
And it’s also beefed up its integrations with lighting giant Lutron and AC brand Carrier now supporting Stringify. In isolation that’s a pretty minor update, but it adds up to a service that’s being invested in and cultivated.
What’s also interesting about this move is how Comcast is turning itself into a smart home power house, but clearly putting the TV at the heart of this vision. Rather than Amazon and Google which are both putting smart speakers at the forefront of their push, and now introducing Smart display speakers, Comcast seems to be betting on people using the always-on screen that people already own: their TV.
It shows that winners in the smart home are yet to be chosen, and while Amazon and its Alexa voice assistant have raced into an early lead, it’s important not to forget that traditional brands like Comcast and perhaps even Sky still have a big place in our homes.